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Dent Clin North Am. 2002 Jul;46(3):507-20.

Orthodontic referrals via TeleDent Southwest.

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Department of Oral and Dental Science, University of Bristol Dental School, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY, UK.


The information presented in this article must be interpreted with caution. Ideally the trial should have lasted longer because five of the seven participating dentists said they felt constrained from taking in more cases because access to TeleDent advice would cease before completion of all but the shortest of treatments. Second, the number of practitioners recruited into the trial was small, and the dentists chosen were highly selected. Third, almost all the data are based on the opinions of the participating dentists, and for three of the dentists the number of cases on which those opinions were based was small. Finally, it must be remembered that all United Kingdom NHS dentists are busy and work on a highly structured "time of service" payment system. Although the costs of hardware, software, line rental, and training were borne by the TeleDent project, there was no financial compensation for the time spent by dentists capturing images of their patient records and putting together the whiteboard and transmitting the information. There was a significant financial disincentive for using the system. Ideally, a long-term prospective randomized study of the effect of teledentistry advice on outcome of orthodontic treatment provided by general dental practitioners should be undertaken. The data collected in the current study supported the dentists' opinions that TeleDent SW enabled them to offer a better service for their patients and use specialist services more appropriately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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